Captain Oates - RDG Museum

RDG Museum

Captain Oates - RDG Museum

A Very Gallant Gentleman

Captain Lawrence Edward Grace Oates (1880-1912), of the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, became a legend of self-sacrifice when, as a member of Scott's ill-fated Antarctic Expedition of 1912, he chose to sacrifice himself rather than impede the progress of his comrades.

Captain Oates was selected to accompany Captain Scott's ill fated expedition to the South Pole in 1912, specifically to look after the ponies and dogs.

On the return journey , the party was struck by heavy blizzards and injuries. Capt Oates suffered severe frost bite when attempting to rescue another member of the party. He was unable to keep up and knew that the serious delay limited the survival chances of the others.

On 17th March, his 32nd birthday, he walked away from the party and was not seen again.

The whole party perished but the following year when a relief party found Scott's diaries, they found that he had written:

"Oates slept through the night hoping not to wake, but he awoke in the morning. It was blowing a blizzard. Oates said: 'I am just going outside, and may be some time'. He went outside and we have not seen him since. We knew that Oates was walking to his death, but though we tried to dissuade him, we knew it to be the act of a brave man and an English Gentleman".

The book, 'Captain Oates, Soldier and Explorer' by Sue Limb and Patrick Cordingley is available from the Museum price £12.99 plus p&p.

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